Sri Lankan Netball players have begun training to focus on Asian Netball Championship and residential training will commence next May 1 at the Nawalapitiya Indoor Stadium, said Sri Lanka Netball Federation (SLNF) President Ranjani Jayakody.
At the moment we are having a 21-member national pool and they are undergoing training under the guidance of national coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe and Assistant coach Kumari Gamage while Assistant Manager of the National pool Anusha Mayurani is coordinating all activities to continue this training said Netball Chief.
“We have an idea to prune down this pool to 15 players and 12 players are eligible to take part at the Asian Championship. However so far we don’t have an official selection committee to pick players and already requested the Sports Director General to settle this issue as soon as possible and he has promised to do that, said Netball President.
The training is presently being conducted at three venues Bandaragama Sports Complex, Toirrighton Sports Complex, and Sugathadasa Stadium but this is not residential training and that’s why we are expected to conduct residential training at Nawalapitiya.
We started with a talent search programme in outstation areas including Northern and Eastern Provinces and that was very successful. Especially, few players have been identified for the National level. The last National Championship was very successful with the highest competitive level at Digana Stadium in Kandy. In addition, Inter Association tournaments were held during the Global pandemic period and participation was very high and we made all arrangements to give cash awards to the winners. We worked hard as a team to get success during this short period and all these activities benefited Netball, said Netball President.
SLNF have confirmed their participation at the 12th Asian Netball Championships from September 3 to 10 in Singapore. We knew there are a lot of difficulties to continue our training and financial assistance from the Sports Ministry and the private sector is very important. However, we can’t pressure them all at this stage. But as the President of Netball, I am very happy Dialog come forward to sponsor us at the last National championship.
In the meantime, the Sports Ministry is planning to hold the Netball Federation elections before May 31 and all these are not excuses for the Asian Championships. We are the defending Asian champions and we wanted to retain the title. As administrative officials our task is to give our maximum support to achieve this, said Netball President Ranjani Jayakody. I have done my best along with my fellow officials during my short tenure as president and I haven’t decided to contest once again for the Netball election but I will continue to support the sport, said Netball President who was the one-time Director General at the Sports Ministry.
Sri Lanka won the Asian title for the fifth time when the tournament was last held in 2018 in Singapore with the host nation becoming runner-up and Malaysia claiming third place.
Sri Lanka have the credit of having won this tournament the most number of times -(5) in 1989, 1997, 2001, 2009, and 2018.